New project to model how breast cancer survivors manage their health

Jessie Chin
Jessie Chin, Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Jessie Chin and her team have received a $30,000 Arnold O. Beckman Research Award from the U of I Campus Research Board for their project, "Augmenting Health Self-Regulation across the Cancer Survivorship Continuum by Digital Phenotyping." For this project, the researchers will develop a model of how breast cancer survivors manage their health by passively tracking survivors' interactions with their personal digital devices to identify when assistance is needed. Chin's team will use the new algorithms to design proactive interventions to lower the self-care demands of cancer patients and optimize their long-term quality of life.

"Breast cancer is a chronic illness, and survivors need to address complex self-care needs throughout their lifetime," Chin said. "It is demanding for them to monitor their needs and seek resources on their own. In some cases, they might not be aware of where to seek resources or don't know how to start or continue a health plan."

Through this pilot study, the research team will bridge natural language processing, digital phenotyping, active machine learning, and the Health Action Process Approach, a framework that aims to describe, explain, and modify health behaviors. According to Chin, the new project is a steppingstone for all cancer researchers to design new digital health intervention for cancer patients.

"With this new technology, we will be able to deliver personalized self-care support to the homes of a diversity of people, in both urban and rural settings, meeting our ultimate goal to develop accessible and equitable smart health through the power of information," she said.

Chin's research aims to advance knowledge in cognitive sciences regarding evolving human interaction with contemporary information technologies and translating theories in social and behavioral sciences to the design of technologies and interaction experience to promote health communication and behavior across the lifespan. She holds a BS in psychology from National Taiwan University, an MS in human factors, and a PhD in educational psychology with a focus on cognitive science in teaching and learning from the University of Illinois.

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